Handbook

While at the National Science Teacher Association Conference in Indianapolis in 2012, NSTA Press interviewed me about my book, the STEM Student Research Handbook





I am the author of the STEM Student Research Handbook. It can purchased from The NSTA Press Store or from Amazon. At the NSTA Press site, they have a free chapter of the book available for download. Here is the official book description:

"This comprehensive resource for STEM teachers and students, outlines the various stages of large-scale research projects, enabling teachers to coach their students through the research process. This handbook provides enough detail to embolden all teachers—even those who have never designed an experiment on their own—to support student-researchers through the entire process of conducting experiments. Early chapters—research design, background research, hypothesis writing, and proposal writing—help students design and implement their research projects. Later chapters on descriptive and inferential statistics, as well as graphical representations, help them correctly interpret their data. Finally, the last chapters enable students to effectively communicate their results by writing and documenting a STEM research paper, as well as by preparing for oral and poster presentations. Included are student handouts, checklists, presentation observation sheets, and sample assessment rubrics."
The Science Books and Films, put out by the AAAS (The American Association for the Advancement of Science) wrote a glowing review of my book in May of 2012.  Here is the complete review.  The last sentence in the review is:

"No matter where you are along the student-professional STEM spectrum, there is always a skill that could use some polishing, and the resources in this book are a great place to start the process." 
- Melissa McCartney, Science Magazine, Washington, D.C. 

The story behind this book is that my students designed semester-long research projects as part of an Advanced Biology course I taught. Students chose their topics, utilized library resources, wrote proposals, performed the experiments, collected data, wrote journal-styled papers, and presented their research at a local symposium. While nothing I did was extraordinary, like any teacher who works to improve her craft, I continually improved my methods and handouts to streamline the process. Then I realized that there were few resources available for teachers who wanted to get started.  So I submitted a book proposal to NSTA Press and it was accepted!  Now I am able to share my experience and resources with you!

I believe my background in teaching science AND English provide me a unique position to speak authoritatively on this topic. I am passionate about equipping students to be critical thinkers. The STEM content that students learn by completing a research project is a narrow view of how students benefit.  Even if the student researcher does not go into a STEM career, the library research skills paired with the ability to textually and orally communicate ideas is invaluable no matter what career path students may choose. STEM teachers, in communication with English teachers should be teaching research and writing skills, and this book helps teacher to do just that!    

The book has become very popular, not only for use with public, private, and homeschooling high school students, but also with preservice teachers, as well as undergraduate researchers. I am interested getting feedback from those of you who are using the "STEM Student Research Handbook" as part of their courses. Please post your comments in the reader forums and let us know how it is going!


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